Last week review (April 16-20)

President Ilham Aliyev views newly-delivered metro trains

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has viewed the new trains which were delivered to Baku with the aim of modernizing the capital's metro fleet.

President Ilham Aliyev arrived at the "Icharishahar" station of Baku Metro.

Chairman of Baku Metro CJSC Zaur Huseynov informed the head of state of the conceptual development plan of metro.

The president viewed the new trains.

Made by Russian company Metrovagonmash in 2018, the new trains have a speed of 90 km/h. The trains have 328 seats and engine power of 170 kilovolts.

President Ilham Aliyev arrived from "Icharishahar" at the "Nariman Narimanov" station in a new train.

AZAL, AzTA hold meeting with official partners

Azerbaijan's flag carrier Azerbaijan Airlines CJSC (AZAL) and the Azerbaijan Tourism Association (AzTA) held a joint meeting with official partners and agents of AZAL, the airline said in a message on April 16.

At the meeting, vice-president of AZAL, executive director of AZAL passenger airline, Eldar Hajiyev, informed about the important changes and innovations in AZAL, including Buta Airways, a structural unit of AZAL and the first low-cost airline in Azerbaijan.

Travel companies and sales agencies voiced their wishes and proposals at the meeting.

Prospects of cooperation with AzTA were also discussed.

Following the fruitful meeting, AZAL awarded the most active partners and agents, while five top-ranking tourism agents were awarded registered certificates.

The airline reported that such meetings will be continued in the future.

The video about the meeting is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndWaAg1eNyM

Car production in Neftchala may stabilize Azerbaijani market: expert

The start of production of cars at the joint Azerbaijani-Iranian factory in the Neftchala industrial zone may stabilize prices in the automotive market of Azerbaijan, General Director of MBA Group consulting company, expert in the field of valuation Nusret Ibrahimov told Trend on Thursday.

According to the expert, the main factor that can cause price stabilization will be the quality of cars produced.

"If the cars produced at the Khazar factory meet the demand of the population in terms of quality, they will stabilize prices in the market and reduce dependence on imports. Otherwise, our market will still depend on imported cars," Ibrahimov said.

Ibrahimov noted that the new factory will have specific impact on the market after some time.

"As you remember, we assembled Samand cars in Shamakhi once in the past. But they were not in demand among the population, and after a certain time, their production stopped. It will also take time in this case. Only after a few months the production in Neftchala will have a certain impact on the market," the expert said.

In early April, the Azerbaijan-Iran automobile factory Khazar, situated in the Neftchala industrial zone, started production of the first cars.

The factory produces cars under the brand name of Khazar, and a number of models of Peugeot and Renault will also be assembled there. The annual capacity of the factory is about 10,000 cars. It is expected that in the future the cars will be delivered to Ukraine, Russia and Central Asian countries.

All cars produced at the factory comply with Euro 5 standards.

On August 6, 2016, a major Iranian automaker Iran Khodro and Azerbaijani company Azeurocar (subsidiary of AzerMash) signed an agreement to establish a joint automobile factory in the Neftchala industrial zone. The total cost of the project is estimated at 24 million manats. The Azerbaijani side has invested 75 percent in the factory, and the Iranian side has invested 25 percent.

German-Azerbaijani Fund may resume its activity

The German-Azerbaijani Fund (GAF) may resume its activities in 2018, a source in the government told Trend on April 20.

The activities of the GAF, established in 1999 for lending to small and medium-sized businesses in Azerbaijan, were suspended at the end of last year due to the fact that the parties - the Ministry of Finance and the Saving Banks Fund for International Cooperation of Germany [SBFIC, Manager of the GAF] - could not reach an agreement on a new contract.

The validity of the last contract expired in 2015. Without a new contract, the GAF could not continue its activities, so from 2016 to mid-2017, in fact, it was collecting previously issued loans, and did not issue new ones.

However, this year the parties once again sat down at the negotiating table, and there was a hope that the GAF would be able to restore its activities, the source told Trend.

"Under the new contract, the GAF began negotiations with banks to study their needs for foreign currency loans. If the Fund can find enough partners in Azerbaijan, the Ministry of Finance will agree to sign a new contract," the source said.

However, there are some difficulties, says the source.

"Today our banks have very high liquidity. The share of US dollar deposits is still high, and the rates on them are quite low. In this regard, it is more profitable for banks to attract US dollar deposits and use them for lending than to take from the GAF expensive loans, which are also in euros rather than US dollars. The demand for the euro in the country is not so great."

SBFIC has been operating since 1992, offering a variety of technical assistance to the banking sector. In Azerbaijan, the Fund, in particular, cooperated with the public and private sectors in strengthening the banking sector and microfinance, business development in rural areas and in other areas.

One of SBFIC's projects was the German-Azerbaijani Fund. Partners of GAF were AGBank, Bank of Baku, Unibank, ParaBank (now NBCO Para), Bank Respublika and DemirBank.

AZAL announces three new destinations within summer flight schedule

Azerbaijan Airlines will launch direct flights to new destinations of its route map - to Dammam and Riyadh cities of Saudi Arabia (from June 15 to September 1), as well as to Tivat, the popular resort of Montenegro (from July 5 to September 15) within its summer flight schedule.

The flights will be operated on comfortable Airbus A320 airliners.

The air ticket includes free baggage allowance (up to 23 kg) and a full range of cold and hot onboard meals.

Air tickets can be booked and purchased at AZAL sales offices and official sales agencies https://www.azal.az/en/information/sales-offices . Soon air tickets to the new destinations will be also available on the website www.azal.az/en/.

To purchase tickets and for more information, please contact:

+ (99412) 598-88-80 (hotline from Azerbaijan: *8880)

E-mail: [email protected]

Azerbaijan, Russia seek to achieve record level of trade turnover

The bilateral trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Russia can reach $3 billion in 2018, Russia's trade representative in Azerbaijan Eldar Tlyabichev told Trend.

"The data of the Federal Customs Service of Russia shows that a positive trend has been kept during the first two months of 2018. The growth of the bilateral trade turnover hit almost 40 percent. According to our estimates, in case the current trend is kept, the trade turnover between the countries will be about $3 billion in 2018," he said.

Tlyabichev reminded that in 2017, the bilateral trade turnover hit $ 2.63 billion, of which $ 1.94 billion accounted for Russian exports, and $692.1 million - for Azerbaijani exports.

"In general, last year we managed to increase the mutual trade by 34.4 percent, which is certainly a positive factor," Tlyabichev said.

Tlyabichev emphasized that Azerbaijan is an important economic partner for Russia.

"Today, Azerbaijan is one of Russia's key economic partners in the CIS area. We are actively developing the bilateral cooperation in various areas, and it is of a complex nature. Probably, there is no sector where our countries do not cooperate. This, of course, is the foundation for further expansion and deepening of our bilateral cooperation, "Tlyabichev noted.

Azerbaijan, Russia eye creating JVs on export to third countries

Azerbaijan and Russia are discussing possibility of establishing joint ventures (JVs) for export to third countries, Russia's trade representative in Azerbaijan Eldar Tlyabichev told Trend.

"We have certain developments and presently we are considering possibility of organizing and expanding cooperation in the industrial sector and creating joint products for export to third countries. Another interesting topic that is actively developing now is tourism. There are real opportunities here to increase the mutual tourist flow," he said.

Tlyabichev further urged Russian and Azerbaijani companies to actively use the existing business opportunities.

The potential of mutual investment and production cooperation is not fully used today, according to him.

"I urge Azerbaijani investors to more actively participate in projects being realized in Russia. Particularly, to use the capabilities of Russian special economic zones, which offer its significant preferences and create comfortable conditions for doing business," he said.

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